Benjamin Netanyahu has threatened to call a snap election unless his cabinet agrees to shut down Israel’s new public broadcaster.
The Prime Minister said it was “unacceptable” to allow the broadcaster to begin operating next month, and his stance has created a crisis within Likud’s ruling coalition.
Mr Netanyahu said his coalition partners were required to side with Likud on all government matters.
He had originally ordered the struggling state-run Israel Broadcasting Authority to shut and be replaced with a new corporation – but Mr Netanyahu has now changed his mind again and claims the new body will be biased against him.
Finance Minister Moshe Kahlon, head of the centrist Kulanu party, insists the corporation start broadcasting next month as planned.
The crisis has sparked speculation that the coalition could fall apart, and new elections called.
As the PM left Israel on Sunday for a visit to China, his coalition partners attacked the idea of an election.
Defence Minister Avigdor Lieberman said: “The last thing Israel needs now is elections.”
Mr Netanyahu is the subject of two criminal inquiries.
Investigators are expected to decide next month whether to call for an indictment.
An election would delay this process.